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GW's SOTU - Sanctity of Marriage?

2003 State of the Union Address (self-hosted)

A key piece of President Bush's State of the Union Address this year was targeted at "activist judges" who are "redefining marriage...without regard for the will of the people." He further states: "Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage".

When, in recent history, has marriage been held sacred in this country? Isn't the simple fact that the TV networks have made money hand over fist with shows such as "Married By America", "The Bachelor", and most recently "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance" evidence to the contrary? Isn't the fact that Britney Spears gets married for what may be a record 55 hours in Las Vegas evidence to the contrary?

In my experience, it's not the gay or lesbian couples who take commitment on a lark. It's the straight people who get married because "it's time" or "it will help us bond" or "it will solve all our problems." It's the commericials for Las Vegas where people get married to people that they've only known for hours. "What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas" - well, unless you get married or get an STD, I suppose.

If GW and the conservatives who are out to "protect" the institute of marriage are really serious about this statement, then here are some suggestions:

- Require an intelligence and compatibility test before people can get married. Find out how much they really know about each other.

- Mandate a country-wide 90-day waiting period between obtaining a marriage license and the actual ceremony. Most states have this already, but those heathens in Las Vegas would no longer be able to perform their Elvis-officiated, drive-through, 24-hour weddings.

- Mandate a 6 month waiting period for divorces. After all, most divorces really only happen because people don't try hard enough.

- Mandate couples counseling for anyone foolish enough to file for divorce. Religious institutions preferred, of course, since it's the "sanctity" of the institution at risk.

Seriously, though...nowhere have I read or heard a cogent argument for failing to address the needs of an increasingly vocal and important group within our nation. As the openly gay and lesbian population ages, we're uncovering gaps and voids in our protections for them that are widely open to the straight population.

Last I checked, that's the textbook definition of discrimination - differential effect with differential intent upon a selected class of citizens.

Tim Eyman IS a Horse's Ass!

Okay, even if the initiative to declare it a fact was ruled off the ballot in March, Tim Eyman is in fact a horse's ass. Not only has the man openly admitted to misusing "campaign" funding for personal expenses, but he's batting a measly .250 in creating constitutional intiatives (.200 if you include the latest of his endeavors - but I'm being nice, since he was just an "advisor" on this latest SNAFU).

For those of you who don't know (if you're not from WA, there's no reason for you to know), Tim Eyman is the rat-bastard former watch salesman that has been single-handedly decapitating Washington's budget for the past four or five years, abusing the state's initiative process to push his own agenda of "populist" politics. All he's gotten for his efforts is massive media coverage, which I'm quite sure is perfectly to his liking.

Let's be realistic - if the man actually were interested in changing the political climate, wouldn't he have learned his lesson when his first initiative was ruled unconstitutional, for including more than one topic within the initiative itself (I-695)? No - in fact, his next initiative (I-722, drafted after the first ruling) suffered from the very same fate. Granted, he may have been in denial over the lower court's initial I-695 ruling, given his delusions of grandeur, but rule #1 of the legal system is that you don't count your chickens before they hatch (or in this case, before the Supreme Court rules against you).

Yet, undaunted by the press coverage of his own inacccuracies and falsehoods, he continues to press forward, this past week accusing the state (after finally coming through with a budget that fit both House and Senate requirements) of a "4 Billion-Dollar Lie".

What Mr. Eyman and many of his supporters continually fail to grasp is that the money that they pay in taxes is going to support the society around them, a society that they have supported by electing representatives that make policy decisions for them. This is not a direct democracy, never has been and never will be. If you want to change politics, vote the bastards out of office. But don't handicap our police, fire, jails, teachers, and transportation systems just to "make a statement" to the Legislature.

Eyman, if you're really interested in driving change, do it the way the Founding Fathers of this state intended you to do it - run for office. If you're actually elected, then maybe I'll listen to your opinions of the system. Until then, keep coming up with half-assed, unconstitutional initiatives. We'll keep laughing you out of court on them. Hope you like your 15 minutes of fame, 'cause God knows this isn't "for the people" anymore.

Hooray for the 8th Circuit!

Interactive Digital Software Association v. Saint Louis County, Missouri

In a huge win for the gaming industry, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a St. Louis County ordinance banning the sale, rental, or "making available" of "graphically violent video games" is unconstitutional in its reliance upon violent content (a similar part of the ordinance, blocking sexually explicit content was untouched at this time).

This marks a landmark in the First Amendment protection of video games as works of "expressions" under the Constitution. It's a huge win for those of us who believe that games shouldn't be censored, and that it's a parent's responsibility (not the State's) to determine what their child should or should not play.

Some key quotes:

"The County suggests in fact that with video games, the story lines are incidental and players may skip the expressive parts of the game and proceed straight to the player-controlled action. But the same could be said of action-packed movies like "The Matrix" or "Charlie's Angels"; any viewer with a videocassette or DVD player could simply skip to and isolate the action sequences." p. 4

"The County's conclusion that there is a strong likelihood that minors who play violent video games will suffer a deleterious effect on their psychological health is simply unsupported in the record." p. 6

"We merely hold that the government cannot silence protected speech by wrapping itself in the cloak of parental authority." p. 8